Whistler Cup: The Future Of Ski Racing
Editor’s Note: This post was originally publish in March, 2013. It’s been updated and republished to reflect the changes of the event covered.
Special Guest Blogger: Michel Beaudry
April in Whistler. It’s become a rite of passage for a whole generation of alpine ski champions. And it’s getting better every year. Whether Austrian or Slovenian, Quebecois or British Columbian, young ski racers everywhere now dream of traveling to Whistler for a chance to compete in what for many will be their first big international event.
Photo courtesy Whistler Mountain Ski Club/Coast Mountain Photography
No question about it — the O2E Brands Whistler Cup rocks. And it rocks precisely because its time-tested format is unique. The only event of its kind in North America, the 28-year old race brings together the elite of the world’s ski racing youth for a four day-long competition that is as much about fun and learning as it is about reaching the top step of the podium.
But make no mistake. While the Whistler Cup’s social-interaction factor is high, the racing is still fast and furious… as a list of Whistler Cup alumni quickly establishes. Canadian Cowboys Jan Heduc, Eric Guay and Manny Osborne Paradis all attended the event… as did their Speed Queen counterparts Britt Janyk, Kelly Vanderbeek and Emily Brydon. Paralympic gold medallist Mollie Jepsen has not only raced in the Whistler Cup but has volunteered for several years. Skicross champions Ashleigh McIvor and Chris Delbosco were also Whistler Cup competitors. In fact, Ashleigh won Olympic gold just down the road in Vancouver in 2010 — fourteen years after her first international breakthrough at the Whistler Cup…
While the list of Canadian stars is impressive, it’s the young athletes who’ve attended from foreign lands that really make the Whistler Cup shine. Consider such alpine luminaries as Austrian technical ace Benjamin Raich or American superstars Lindsay Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin, Italian champ Christof Innerhofer and Tina Maze of Slovenia. Though their various paths to alpine ski racing stardom reflect their different backgrounds and cultures, all came through British Columbia and the Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s “kids” event.
Left:Photo by Mike Crane. Right: Photo by Coast Mountain Photography
“This year, celebrating our 28th anniversary, we will welcome over 400 racers, 130 coaches and 300 volunteers from over 20 countries to compete for the coveted Whistler Cup on the famed Dave Murray National Training Center,” says Jim McGovern, Chair of the Whistler Cup. “This annual event is critical to the development of alpine ski racing in Canada, as every year young Canadian racers witness and race against the best in the world in their age groups.”
The racing starts with a Super-G event for the 14 – 15 year-olds and continues into the weekend with a full slate of slalom and giant slalom races for both age groups. All the Whistler Cup races will be held at the new Dave Murray Training Centre located just off the Garbanzo Chair on Whistler Mountain’s north side. Also – you can catch all the flair and excitement of a big international race by attending the Opening Ceremonies and Team Parade that will end in Skier’s Plaza.
We will be updating the event information as we receive it and can’t wait to see the next generation of ski racers take to the slopes. If you need help with any transport, accommodation or activity needs please touch base with the team at Whistler.com.